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Court Report: Queen’s Rapier Championship

AEthelmearc Gazette - Wed, 2016-06-01 17:48

Documented from the Rolls and Files of the Coram Regibus of Thomas Byron and Ariella, Rex et Regina Æthelmearc: Being a True Record of the Business of Her Majesty’s Royal Court at the Tournament to choose Her Rapier Champion, 28 May, Anno Societatis LI, in the Shire of Abhainn Ciach Ghlais. As recorded by Gwendolyn the Graceful, Brehyres, Jewel of Æthelmearc Herald.

Her Majesty asked for a moment of silent remembrance in honor of Baron Malcolm Fitzwilliam.

The late Baron Malcolm Fitzwilliam. Photo by Master Alaxandair O Conchobhair.

Her Majesty next asked the children forward and invited them to amuse themselves at the rear of the hall with activities provided by Don Clewin.

Then Her Majesty gave leave to Their Excellencies Stefan and Fiona of the Barony of Endless Hills to hold a brief court.

Her Majesty received Lady Deirdre Kildare, seneschal, and representatives of the Shire of Aibhann Ciach Ghlais, to thank them for their hospitality. Lady Deirdre presented Her Majesty with a gift basket in appreciation of Her visit.

Her Majesty also invited the cooks of the St. Lawrence Guild of Cooks, and Lady Greer Wallace, who provided the excellent victuals available throughout the day. Her Majesty thanked them for taking such good care of Herself and all the attendees.

Next did Her Majesty call Vincenzo of Endless Hills into Her Presence, and inducted him into the Order of the Silver Buccle.


Photo by Brehyres Gwendolyn the Graceful.

Her Majesty next desired words with Lord Simon Sevastion Caminante. Mindful of his skills and prowess, Her Majesty did name him a Companion of the Order of the Golden Alce.

Photo by Breyhyres Gwendolyn the Graceful.

Her Majesty called forward Lord Cormacc mc Gille Bridghe. In recognition of his many efforts, Her Majesty named him a Companion of the Order of the Keystone.

Photo by Brehyres Gwendolyn the Graceful.

Then Her Majesty invited Countess Elena D’Artois and Master William Parris forth to present the prizes for the Bearpit Tournament that followed the championship tourney. Lord Durante de Caravaggio de Florenza, Lord Andreas von Halstern, and Don Po Silvertop earned accolades for their performance. Countess Elena also asked Don Diego Miguel Munoz de Castilla to explain the Wild Hunt. All interested fencers are invited to participate in the year-long competition.

Doña Elena, Master Will,  and Master Diego receive roses from Her Majesty before the tournament. Photos by Lady Antoinette de Lorraine.

Her Majesty next received Doña Fiora D’Artusio, Her outgoing Rapier Champion, and Lord Jacob Martinson, the day’s victor. He received from Doña Fiora the regalia of his new office. Lord Jacob then offered his fealty upon the champion’s rapier and joined the Court.

Lord Jacob Martinson, new Queen’s Rapier Champion, receiving a Golden Alce in the reign of Tindal and Etain. Photo by Arianna.


Photo by Brehyres Gwendolyn the Graceful.

Her Majesty summoned Lord Durante forward once more, and presented to him Her token of inspiration.

Her Majesty again thanked the event staff, the marshals, combatants, ministers of the list, cooks, and all others who made the day enjoyable for all.

Her Majesty asked those scribes who contributed to the scrolls bestowed in Her Court to stand and be recognized.

There being no further business, Her Majesty’s Court was closed.

Faithfully Submitted,

Gwendolyn the Graceful, Brehyres
Jewel of Æthelmearc Herald

Click to view slideshow.
Categories: SCA news sites

Tutankhamun’s dagger made from meteoric iron

History Blog - Wed, 2016-06-01 03:07

When Howard Carter opened the sarcophagus of King Tutankhamun and unwrapped the mummy in 1925, three years after his discovery of the tomb, he found 107 objects placed in the linen bandages. One of them was an iron dagger with a gold handle elaborately decorated with cloisonné enamel, gold granulation in geometric patterns and a crystal pommel. Its sheath was made of gold with a lily motif engraved on one side and feathers terminating in a jackal head at the peak of the sheath on the other side. It was found on his right thigh.

Iron is very rare in Egyptian tombs. Bronze was the dominant metal in funerary artifacts until the Assyrian Occupation (656-639 B.C.), 600 years after iron production became widespread elsewhere around the Mediterranean. When iron has been found in a funerary context, archaeologists have suspected it was of extra-terrestrial origin. Since it falls from the sky, it would have been seen as a direct gift from the gods. Iron meteorite impact craters have been discovered in Egypt. One found in southern Egypt in 2008 dates to within 5,000 years, so it could well have been a source of godly iron for the ancients.

It’s also possible that the iron in Tutankhamun’s dagger has more earthly origins. Iron was a byproduct of bronze and copper smelting, metals Egypt produced in abundance, and there are references in the 14th century Amarna letters to gifts of valuable iron from the King of Mitanni. There has been much debate on the question since 1925. Two studies done on the metal of the dagger had conflicting results. Iron meteorites are composed mainly of iron and nickel with trace amounts of cobalt, phosphorus, sulfur and carbon. The nickel content in iron produced from ore is no more than 4 percentage by mass (wt%), while in iron meteorites it’s at least 5 wt% and can go up to 35 wt%. The first study in 1970 found high nickel content indicative of meteoric iron, but it was never published and the methodology is unknown. A 1994 X-ray fluorescence (XRF) spectrometry analysis found a nickel content of 2.8 wt%, which is too low for meteoritic iron.

Now a new study by an international team of researchers has used state-of-the-art XRF technology to determine whether the iron in King Tutankhamun’s dagger is of meteoric origin. Italian and Egyptian researchers from the Politecnico di Milano, the University of Pisa, the Cairo Museum, the University of Fayoum, and the Politecnico di Torino compared XRF measurements of two areas of Tutankhamun’s dagger, 11 meteorites of clear composition and 11 examples of certified steel. Their analysis found that the dagger’s blade is 11 wt% nickel, which can only be meteoritic iron. The amount of cobalt, .6 wt%, is also consistent with the ratio of nickel to cobalt found in iron meteorites.

Our finding confirms that excavations of important burials, including that of King Tutankhamun, have uncovered pre-Iron Age artifacts of meteoritic origin (Johnson et al. 2013).

As the only two valuable iron artifacts from ancient Egypt so far accurately analyzed are of meteoritic origin, we suggest that ancient Egyptian attributed great value to meteoritic iron for the production of fine ornamental or ceremonial objects up until the 14th C. BCE. Smelting of iron, if any, has likely produced low-quality iron to be forged into precious objects. In this context, the high manufacturing quality of Tutankhamun’s dagger blade is evidence of early successful iron smithing in the 14th C. BCE. Indeed, only further in situ, nondestructive compositional analysis of other time-constrained ancient iron artifacts present in world collections, which include the other iron objects discovered in Tutankhamun’s tomb, will provide significant insights into the use of meteoritic iron and into the reconstruction of the evolution of the metal working technologies in the Mediterranean.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Court Report: Æthelmearc War Practice

AEthelmearc Gazette - Tue, 2016-05-31 20:37

Documented from the Rolls and Files of the Coram Regibus of Thomas Byron and Ariella, Rex et Regina Æthelmearc: Being a True Record of the Business of Their Royal Court at the twenty-seventh War Practice, 21 May, Anno Societatis LI, in the Canton of Steltonwald. As recorded by Gwendolyn the Graceful, Brehyres, Jewel of Æthelmearc Herald, with the assistance of Lord Arias Beltran del Valle.

Upon the youth fighting field, Their Majesties addressed the six youth combatants who vied for the post of Youth Champion and complimented them on their performance in the tournament. Her Majesty bestowed personal tokens to all of them for their comportment and enthusiasm, as well as to one very young gentle who could not wait to become a combatant. Mistress Arianna recognized Daichi as displaying the most chivalry and courtesy during the tournament. Court was suspended.

Their Majesties address the youth fighters before the Champion’s Tourney. Photo by Arianna.

Court continued upon the fencing field, where Their Majesties had words for Nicolo Loredan da Venesia. In recognition of his courtesy and skill with the blade, They Awarded him Arms and named him a Companion of the Order of the Golden Alce. Scroll by Shirin, Mistress Antoinette de la Croix, and THL Sophie Davenport

Their Majesties then desired to receive Don Clewin Kupferhelbelinc. They spoke with him of his prowess and the regard in which he is held. As proof of his achievement, They then called forward the Most Noble Order of Defense, and decreed that Don Clewin should return to Them at the Pennsic War prepared to answer whether he would join that noble Order. Scroll by Mistress Fredeburg Katzenellenbogen.

Don Clewin receives a Writ for the Order of Defense. Photo by Lord Ursus.

Viewing this company, Their Majesties wished to increase its numbers still further, and summoned Don Lodovick of Gray’s Inn, as one whom They would have consider joining the Order of Defense’s ranks. Their Majesties bade him return to Them at a future date to sit vigil and give Them his reply. Scroll by Mistress Fredeburg on wording by THL Beatrice de Winter. Court was suspended.

Master Lodovic receives a Writ for the Order of Defense. Photo by THLady Aaliz de Gant.

Their Majesties continued Court among the archers, where Baron Sogtungui Bataar was named a Companion of the Golden Alce and received Baroness Anna Eisenkopf’s own medallion. Scroll by Rowena Moore and Oleksandra Ivanova Baboyka.

Their Majesties also brought Lord Hrolfr Fjarfell before Them and spoke of his quick ascension within the archery community, both in skill and in leadership. They were minded to name him also a Companion of the Golden Alce. Scroll by Mistress Maria Christina de Cordoba upon wording by Ariadne Flaxenhair of Dragon’s End. Court was suspended.

Lord Hrolfr passing on the Archery Championship. Photo by Arianna.

Court continued in the Great Hall, accompanied by Her Highness Margerite and the Barons and Baronesses of the Barony-Marche of the Debatable Lands. Their Majesties gave leave to Their Excellencies to hold court.

Following the Baronial Court, Their Majesties were well pleased to receive Their Royal Cousin, Queen Avelina of the East, and invite her to join them. Her Majesty presented gifts in token of friendship, and received from Their Majesties further presents to seal Their esteem and regard for the sovereign realm of the East.

Their Majesties also received THLord Peregrine Falconer the Navigator, Ambassador from the Kingdom of Avacal, who delivered a gift basket from King Wernar and Queen Helene in gratitude for the hospitality that Æthelmearc has shown THLord Peregrine during his sojourns here.

THLord Peregrine delivers a gift basket from Avacal. Photo by Master Alaxandair O Conchobhair.

The Court then made the following announcement:

On May 22, 2016, do We, Byron and Ariella, King and Queen of Æthelmearc, expel James Henry Shaffer IV, known in the Society as Cadan Buri, from participation in any SCA activity.

Baron Tofi Kerthjalfadsson was then invited to approach and address the populace, to formally thank Mistress Euriol of Lothian for her service as emergency Chamberlain, and to introduce Baron Janos Meszaros and Master Augusto Giuseppe da San Donato as the new Chamberlains, in charge of Pennsic and Regalia, respectively. To illustrate his tremendous commitment to the glorification of the kingdom through its regalia, Master Giuseppe presented the Kingdom with a fire ring adorned by escarbuncles, to be used at the Pennsic Royal Encampment.

Maestro Giuseppe’s fire ring. Photo by Master Alaxandair O Conchobhair.

Next did Their Majesties invite Baron Robert O’Connor forward to formally thank him for his service as Kingdom Archivist, and to announce that his replacement will be Vrika ingen Domhnaill. Their Majesties wished him well in the fortunes that necessitate a move across Their southeastern borders and hoped soon to welcome him back as a subject of Greater Æthelmearc if Their Royal Cousins of Atlantia agree to the same.

Baron Robert O’Connor. Photo by Master Alaxandair.

Their Majesties received Dame Hrefna Ùlfvarinnsdóttir into Their Presence, and further invited forward those children in attendance. With the permission of their parents, the children were encouraged to go with Dame Hrefna to the rear of the hall for activities and treats to amuse them during the remainder of Court.

Their Majesties brought before Them Their current Youth Champions, Drake and Karl. Both were thanked for their service as champions, and witnessed as El Tigre was called to take up again the mantle of champion. El Tigre received the regalia of office from his predecessors and took up his place in Court. Scroll by Anonymous.

El Tigre accepts the position of Youth Combat Champion. Photo by Lady Àine ny Allane.

Then did Their Majesties call forward Sean Delamort, current Thrown Weapons Champion. They thanked him for his service and called forward the five finalists from the competition to determine his successor: Baroness Amelia Soteria, Master Tigernach mac Cathail, THL Rois O’Faye, THL Grímólfr Ormalfsson, and THL Gunther Grunbaum. Her Majesty spoke of the closeness of the competition, the difficulty and intricacy of the targets, and Their Majesties’ overall pride in the impressive display of skill exhibited by all the contestants. Though the scores were very close, Baroness Amelia Soteria was ultimately declared the victor, and thus was she installed as Their Majesties’ champion. Their Majesties also gifted her with one of the spears that supported the canopies from Their Coronation, as a keepsake and reminder of her Championship. Scroll by Lady Kathryn McLuing with wording by Lord Arias Beltran del Valle.

Baroness Soteria is named Thrown Weapons Champion. Photo by Arianna.

Next was Lord Hrolfr Fjarfell invited to come forward and be recognized for his service as current Archery Champion. Their Majesties thanked him for his dedication and for his entertaining competition, and then summoned Takamatsu Gentarou Yoshitaka-san to take his rightful place as Lord Hrolfr’s successor. Scroll by Raven Whitehart with calligraphy by Brandy Sinclair.

Yoshitaka-san accepts the position of Kingdom Archery Champion. Photo by Lady Àine ny Allane.

Their Majesties invited Edelvrouwe Lijsbet de Keukere to address the populace. She thanked those who helped to make the inaugural Scarlet Apron competition a success, and announced the winners of the three categories: For the Youth division, Simon Fjarfell, for his lamb sculpted out of ginger; for the Populace Choice, Mistress Tomasia da Collevento, for her peacock made of pie crust; and the first ever Scarlet Apron champion, Lady Elska Fjarfell, for her marzipan hens’ eggs and her “chevre chevre” (goat made of goat cheese), as well as other entries.

Lady Elska, winner of the Scarlet Apron competition, with its organizer, Edelvrouw Lijsbet de Keukere. Photo by Lady Àine ny Allane.

His Majesty spied among the people one Alistair MacLeod, and demanded that he be brought forward and immediately placed under guard. Charges against the said Alistair were read, to wit, that he had been seen and observed conducting himself in all ways as a member of the nobility, retaining for persons of noble quality, and poaching of the royal lands in pursuit of the archer’s arts. Mindful of Their Majesties’ obligation to administer swift justice where due, They therewith conferred upon him the said rank of Lord, Awarding him Arms that his behavior would be known throughout the land as right and proper. Scroll by Baron Caleb Reynolds.

Alister MacLeod is held under guard while receiving an Award of Arms. Photo by Arianna.


However, cautious of the newly created Lord Alistair’s loyalty, Their Majesties further decided that he should not be released from the custody of the Guard until one could be found who would vouchsafe his conduct. Thereupon did They call for Arthes MacLeod, and Awarded her Arms as well, so that she, too, would be accorded all the rights and properties due to one of her status. Scroll by Baroness Alexandra dei Campagnella with wording by Lord Arias Beltran del Valle.

Arthes MacLeod receives her AoA. Photo by Lady Àine ny Allane.

Their Majesties desired to see Lady Elska Fjarfell once more. Well before winning the Scarlet Apron, the works of this Lady have been seen and remarked upon. His Majesty in particular praised her soapmaking as one of the most period projects He had encountered. Thus, being so firmly impressed with her skill and the depth of her research into soap and many diverse arts, Their Majesties saw fit to name her a Companion of the Order of the Sycamore. Scroll by THL Tegrinus de Rhina.

Lady Elska receives a Sycamore. Photo by Master Alaxandair.

Next did Their Majesties receive Sheik Durr al-Jabal al-Mustarib of Hidden Mountain. His Majesty spoke of Their Majesties’ desire to recognize His Excellency with something special, and therefore did They invite Master Christofano Vecchione forward to speak about the scroll he had created, in the Mayan style. It told of the accomplishments achieved by Sheik Durr and recognized him with a Keystone. His Majesty and Master Christofano both expressed the hope that others are inspired to let their imaginations guide them to create other works of art.

Lady Ottilige von Rappolsweiler was summoned to attend Their Majesties. Her Majesty spoke of this Lady’s enthusiasm for meeting challenges posed by individual dietary concerns, site constraints, budget constraints, and other obstacles, in the service of creating delectable menus for all to enjoy. So evident is her skill and impressive her research that Their Majesties were not the only ones remarking upon it. Thus were They moved to call in the Order of the Fleur D’Æthelmearc to witness as Lady Ottilge was named their Companion. Scroll by Baroness Ekaterina Volkova.

Lady Ottilige is inducted into the Fleur. Photo by Lady Àine ny Allane.

Before releasing the Order, Their Majesties called for The Honorable Lady Cassandra Matis to join Them. His Majesty observed that one who cures meats might have been disappointed on learning that Their Majesties could not partake, but that They were fortunate to have many, many, MANY volunteers to taste and offer reviews of Lady Cassandra’s work. Even Her Majesty Avelina and members of Their Majesties’ retinue were quick to attest to her skills, and Her Majesty East expressed her great joy at seeing Their Majesties name Cassandra also a Companion of the Fleur D’Æthelmearc. Scroll a work in progress by Master Jon Blaecstan.

THLady Cassandra receives a Fleur. Photo by Arianna.

Their Majesties next desired to receive Lord Aidan Gunn into Their Presence. Having earlier that day received a Comet in Their Excellency’s Court, this gentle’s worth was already known to Their Majesties, as well as long acquaintance with him and his works. In further recognition of his dedication to his Canton, Their Majesties did call for the attendance of Their Noble Order of the Millrind, so that They might Grant him Arms and name him a Companion of that Order. Scroll by THL Rachel Dalicieux.

Lord Aidan Gunn receives a Millrind. Photo by Arianna.

Their Majesties then called for THL Alfrun Ketta to present herself before Them. They complimented her on her splendid and quite authentic outfit, and observed that her research and recreation of similar Norse garb has earned her wordfame not only within the kingdom, but from lands far and wide. Right mindful of the honor such praise brings, and how it reflects upon her efforts, Their Majesties felt that her rank did not befit her reputation. Therefore did They invite before Them Their Most Noble Order of the Laurel, and entreat and desire Her Ladyship to be taken into that Order’s custody so that she might return at Pennsic with an answer whether she would join them as their Companion. Scroll by Baroness Ekaterina Volkova.

THLady Alfrun ketta received a Writ for the Laurel. Photo by Master Alaxandair O Conchobhair.

The Tribe Tuatha Fieren asked that the Court announce that their annual pick-a-prize raffle would occur on Sunday, May 22, at 9:30 AM in the Great Hall.

The Court further announced that Their Majesties’ Curia would convene at 10:00 AM on Sunday, May 22, in the A&S Tent Number 1.

Her Majesty commended The Honorable Lord Cynwulf Rendell (in absentia) on his fortitude, determination, and gracious conduct as he earned the runner-up position in the competition for Archery Champion. Their Excellencies Magnus and Miriel, Baron and Baroness of the Rhydderich Hael, accepted Her Majesty’s token on Rendell’s behalf and promised to convey Her words of thanks and inspiration to His Lordship.

Their Majesties also thanked the event staff, the marshalls, combatants, artisans, and all others who made the day enjoyable for all. In particular, His Majesty expressed praise and admiration for those who did not “stay dry,” but who braved the elements to participate and make the most of the event, truly “practicing” for the days of War.

Their Majesties further thanked the scribes and regalia wrights who contributed their talents and largesse to enhance the Court’s proceedings. They most heartily encouraged any and all who have an interest in the Scribal arts to contact the Sylvan Signet.

There being no further business, Their Majesties’ Court was closed.

Faithfully Submitted,

Gwendolyn the Graceful, Brehyres
Jewel of Æthelmearc Herald

Categories: SCA news sites

Greetings from Brigantia Principal Herald

East Kingdom Gazette - Tue, 2016-05-31 08:10

Greetings from Ryan, Brigantia Principal Herald,

At the Known World Heraldic and Scribal Symposium on May 2nd, the Laurel Sovereign of Arms, the chief herald of the Society, announced that due to the increase in costs incurred by the College of Arms the fee paid by Kingdoms to the Society for each submission would be increased by $1.

At this time the College of Heralds of the East collects $8 per submission, $8CDN for submissions from the Tir Mara Region. Unlike some kingdoms where the College of Heralds is funded, in whole or in part, out of the general kingdom budget, the Eastern College is funded entirely from submissions fees. Therefore, this increase in price by to the Society would directly impact the operating budget of the College. After discussion with the senior staff of the College of Heralds of the East it has been decided that in order to continue to provide the level of service to which the East is accustomed to, we must pass on the cost increase, which will make the new cost per submission $9/$9CDN. This change will go into effect at Pennsic. Submissions received and paid for before July 31 st will be submitted at the current fee. For submissions received after that date, and all submissions received at Pennsic, the higher fee will be in effect.

On another topic, my time as Brigantia Herald is drawing to a close. My fourth, and final, year in this office will conclude at 12th Night, 2017. At this time I will be requesting, for the last time, letters of intent to serve the Kingdom as the 18 th Brigantia Principal Herald. Formal Letters of Intent should be sent to me, at Brigantia@eastkingdom.org, and to their Highnesses Brion and Anna. Letters must be received no later than July 15th to be considered.

-Ryan Brigantia


Translation by Lord Eginhard d’Aix la Chapelle

Salutation de Ryan, Brigantia Principal Herald

Lors du “Known World Heraldic and Scribal Symposium”; qui fut tenu le deux mai, le Laurel Sovereign of Arms, héraut en chef de la SCA, a annoncé que dû à l’augmentation des coût encouru par le College of Arms chaque soumission provenant des royaumes seront augmentées de 1$.

À cette instant le Collège des Hérauts de l’Est collecte 8$ par soumission, 8$cdn pour les soumission dans Tir Mara. En différence avec certain royaume où le collège des hérauts est financé en partie ou en entièreté par le budget du royaume, le collège des hérauts de l'Est est financé entièrement par les soumissions. Par concéquant, le montant exigé par la SCA influe directement sur le budget d’opération du collège. Après discussion avec les officiers séniors du collèges des hérauts, il fut décidé que pour maintenir le niveau de service que la population est accoutumée à recevoir, l’augmentation des coûts doit être transférer aux soumissions. Le nouveau coût pour les soumissions sera donc de 9$/9$cdn. Cette mesure prendra effet à Pennsic. Les soumissions reçu et payé avant le 31 juillet seront aux cours actuel. Pour les soumissions reçu après cette date ou à Pennsic le nouveau cours sera en effet.

Sur un autre sujet, mon mandat comme Brigantia arrive à terme. Ma quatrième et dernière années à ce poste ce conclura à 12th Night 2017. À cette instant, pour la dernière fois, je demande des lettre d’intention pour servir comme 18ieme Brigantia Principal Herald. Les lettres d’intention formel doivent m’être envoyer à brigantia@eastkingdom.org ainsi qu’à leurs Altesses Brion et Anna. Les lettres doivent être reçu avant le 15 juillet pour être considéré.


Filed under: Announcements, Heraldry Tagged: brigantia, heraldry

Museum finds part of Nazi cipher machine on eBay

History Blog - Tue, 2016-05-31 03:13

Last week the National Museum of Computing at Bletchley Park discovered the teleprinter of a Lorenz SZ42 cipher machine for sale as a “telegram machine” on eBay. Museum volunteers went to Southend to inspect it in person. They found it in its original case on the floor of a shed, confirmed it was a Lorenz teleprinter and paid the seller the “Buy it now” price of £9.50 ($14). It is going on display with a Lorenz SZ42 code machine loaned by the Norwegian Armed Forces Museum to tell the full story of how the British broke the Lorenz code.

The Lorenz SZ42 cipher machine was used to transmit the top-secret messages of the German High Command to Army Commands in German-occupied countries. The operator would type the message in plain text on the keyboard of a teleprinter connected to the Lorenz cipher machine which would then convert the message into code. It was in widespread use from 1942 until the end of the war, and with 12 wheels each with a different number of cams, the code it generated was deemed unbreakable.

Andy Clark, chairman of the trustees at The National Museum of Computing, said the Lorenz was stationed in secure locations as “it was far bigger than the famous portable Enigma machine”.

“Everybody knows about Enigma, but the Lorenz machine was used for strategic communications,” said Clark.

“It is so much more complicated than the Enigma machine and, after the war, machines of the same style remained in use.”

Little did the Nazis know the British deciphered the code six months after the first experimental Lorenz SZ40 started sending data in June of 1941. A remarkable feat of reverse engineering by cryptographer Bill Tutte cracked the code in January 1942. Tutte and his team at Bletchley Park figured out the design and function of the machine without ever having seen one. Operator error in a message transmitted from Athens to Vienna on August 30th, 1941, gave the cryptographers a unique opportunity Bletchley to figure out the plain text and the keystream.

Bletchley analysts saw their first Lorenz cipher machine in 1945. By then they had intercepted and read enormously important tactical messages for four years. That’s how the Allies were able to confirm that the Germans had swallowed their bluff that the D-Day landings were happening at Calais. The breaking of Lorenz also played a major role in the construction of Colossus, the first programmable computer. Post Office engineer Tommy Flowers devised Colossus to calculate the positions of the 12 wheels of the Lorenz code machine in hours rather than weeks.

The Lorenz SZ42 encryption machine is extremely rare. Only 200 were built during the war and just four known examples survive. Lorenz teleprinters, on the other hand, were standard production, with a large number of commercial models manufactured. The military-issue teleprinter is much more rare than the commercial models. Bletchley staff first thought it was a standard commercial teleprinter. They only realized it was the rarer military issue, complete with its wartime serial number, swastika accents and a special key for the insignia of the Waffen-SS, when they brought it back to the museum for cleaning and conservation.

The code machine is missing its motor. The museum hopes there’s a Lorenz motor out there in someone else’s shed that would allow them to restore the whole apparatus to working order. If you see something in your attic that looks like a motor in smooth black capsule-like casing with shafts on both sides manufactured by the Lorenz Company at Tempelhof in Berlin, please contact the National Museum of Computing.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Looters dig up Petersburg National Battlefield

History Blog - Mon, 2016-05-30 07:26

Just in time for Memorial Day, the National Park Service has discovered extensive looting of the Petersburg National Battlefield in Virginia. Rangers found a large number of pits dug by treasure hunters looking to steal Civil War artifacts. They likely used metal detectors to discover small, easily removed and carried objects like uniform buttons, buckles and bullets.

These excavation pits were discovered by park staff last week. That area has now been sealed off as an active crime scene while the rest of the park remains open to visitors who, unlike the looters, have respect for thousands of Union and Confederate troops who were killed and wounded in the Siege of Petersburg.

Since the park is nestled in an urban setting, Rogers said, “Someone may have seen something we need to know. The public can help by calling in any tips or other information. The toll-free number is 888-653-0009 and callers can leave a message.”

The looting at Petersburg National Battlefield is a federal crime covered by the Archeological Resources Protection Act of 1979. Violators, upon conviction, can be fined up to $20,000.00 or imprisoned for two years, or both.

Unfortunately it will be difficult to recover any looted artifacts. The kinds of things likely to have been found would be next to impossible to trace specifically to the Petersburg battlefield as opposed to the Civil War period in general.

Petersburg is where the battles that finally ended the Civil War took place, and much like the war itself, it took far longer and claimed more casualties than anyone expected. The longest siege in US history began in June of 1864 after General Ulysses S. Grant put a stop to six weeks of failed frontal assaults on Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s army defending Richmond and withdrew to Petersburg. Then the second largest city in Virginia, Petersburg was a railroad hub and an essential supply line to Richmond.

The Union army failed to take Petersburg thanks to its leaders’ usual lack of coordination and failure to immediately press hard-won advantages, so they settled in for the long haul, digging trenches that would ultimately cover 30 miles of ground from the outskirts of Richmond to the outskirts of Petersburg. The subsequent siege lasted nine and a half months and saw a dozen major engagements between the Union and Confederate armies. With soldiers digging ever-growing networks of trenches, long periods of inaction peppered with battles that achieved few tactical goals at a great cost of human life, Petersburg presaged the approach that would characterize the First World War.

The Third Battle of Petersburg on April 2, 1865, was the last battle of the siege. The Union victory forced General Lee to evacuate Petersburg and Richmond. The city of Richmond surrendered on April 3rd. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia, mortally wounded by exhaustion, disease, hunger and desertion, fought on for another week until it was defeated at the Battle of Appomattox Court House and Robert E. Lee surrendered to Ulysses S. Grant on April 9th, 1865. That triggered the surrender of the rest of the surviving Confederate forces and the end of the American Civil War.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

On Target: Range Safety

AEthelmearc Gazette - Sun, 2016-05-29 21:31

In this month’s column, THLord Deryk Archer discusses the basics of archery range safety.

After the marshal has called “bows down, you may retrieve,” you place your bow on the ground and walk, don’t run, towards the target. Not running is very important with small children – they’re very eager to run down range and see what they hit. Shots that land in the ground are a tripping hazard. A running child could trip on the arrow, or “dead wood” as we call it. The arrow could break and impale the running child.

When you come across a dead arrow, you don’t lift it straight up out of the ground, you pull it backwards the way it went in so you do not break the arrow. If the arrow is not yours, take it by the point and stick it back in the ground straight up so the owner can find it.

When you get to the target butt, only one person removes their arrows at a time. This person is said to be in the” batter’s box.” The batter must look over his shoulder to see if anyone is too close before he worries out his arrows. Note in the left-hand picture, you see the back of the archer’s head. The archer must look back over her shoulder and look at the other “players in the field” as shown in the right-hand picture.

As you can see in the next picture, if the archer pulls the arrow out of the butt too soon, this could cause an eye injury if the people “in the field” are too close.

Always remember, you could still get hurt on an archery range even if the arrows are not flying.

This month’s safety tip: establish eye to eye contact with other archers when you’re walking on an open range.

Yours in Service,

THL Deryk

Categories: SCA news sites

Midrealm Crown Tourney Results

East Kingdom Gazette - Sun, 2016-05-29 17:31

From the Midrealm GazetteThe new Heirs to the Dragon Throne are Duke Edmund and Duchess Kateryn. Duke Edmund defeated Count Cellach.   The original post can be found here.

Filed under: Tidings Tagged: Crown Tournament, Midrealm

Ancient gold wreath kept in a box under the bed

History Blog - Sun, 2016-05-29 12:56

On June 9th, Duke’s of Dorchester auction house will be selling an ancient gold myrtle wreath kept for years in a box under a bed in Somerset. Duke’s appraiser Guy Schwinge went to the cottage to examine some of the belongings of the elderly resident. He was amazed when the owner pulled a busted old cardboard box out from under the bed, dug through the crumpled up newspaper and fished out a Hellenistic gold wreath. It’s a hoop of pure gold with gold myrtle leaves and flowers attached that obscure the hoop and give it the look of a natural myrtle wreath when seen from the front. The workmanship is very fine, with delicate veining on the leaves and details like the anthers and filaments of the flowers.

The style suggests it dates to around the 2nd or 3rd century B.C., but its exact age can’t be determined.

“It is notoriously difficult to date gold wreaths of this type. Stylistically it belongs to a rarefied group of wreaths dateable to the Hellenistic period and the form may indicate that it was made in Northern Greece,” [said Guy Schwinge].

“It is eight inches across and weighs about 100 grams. It’s pure gold and handmade, it would have been hammered out by a goldsmith.

“The wreath is in very nice condition for something that’s 2,300 years old. It’s a very rare antiquity to find, they don’t turn up often. I’ve never seen one in my career before.”

I’ve never seen an ancient Hellenistic gold wreath with those hoops at the end of the circlet before. The current owner, who prefers to remain anonymous, inherited the piece from his grandfather. He doesn’t know anything about it. He is quoted in the article saying that his grandfather traveled extensively in the 1940s and 1950s, including in northwest Greece near the border, but the Duke’s auction catalogue says it was acquired by the seller’s grandfather in the 1930s.

It’s all a bit shady, especially since according to the article there are still bits of dirt embedded in the wreath. Dirt suggests recent excavation, not something that was bought legitimately 60, 70 or even 80 years ago. Gold wreaths are expensive, small and portable which makes them highly desirable to looters. In 2006 the Getty had to return one they had bought in 1993 from a “Swiss private collection,” ie, a gang of Greek smugglers, to Greece. In 2012 traffickers were caught red-handed trying the sell a looted gold wreath in Greece. On the other hand, there are plenty of nooks and crannies in the hammered sheet gold for dirt to nestle in for the long haul. If it was never professionally cleaned, it’s possible that some of the soil from its burial place stuck over decades.

It almost certainly was deliberately buried as a funerary offering. Wreaths of braided flowers, grasses, leaves and branches were used in ancient Greece and Rome as symbols of victory, honor and sovereignty crowning the heads of Olympic athletes, generals on the battlefield, even literary giants like Ovid and Virgil. Wreaths also symbolized the ascension to immortality or apotheosis, often seen in funerary monuments held over the head of a deified emperor, for example.

Myrtle, along with laurel, palm, oak, olive, grape vines and ivy, were popular wreath motifs. The myrtle was associated with the goddess Aphrodite, symbolizing love and immortality. Myrtle wreaths were worn at weddings, by victorious athletes and by initiates into the Eleusinian mysteries. In Rome, the Corona Ovalis was given to a military commander determined by the Senate to be worthy of an ovation (a ceremony a step short of a triumph) for a victory realized without bloodshed.

Gold versions of the wreaths during the Hellenstic period were placed in graves as funerary offerings for the honored dead or dedicated to the gods in sanctuaries. They were too fragile for use as crowns or diadems in life. They are best known from the graves of Macedonian rulers — a gold myrtle wreath believed to have beloned to Meda, fifth wife of Philip II of Macedon, was found in the royal tombs at Vergina — but Hellenistic gold wreaths have been found as far afield as southern Italy and the Dardanelles.

The articles about the Somerset wreath say it could sell for as much as £100,000 ($146,000), but Duke’s is far more circumspect. The pre-sale estimate is £10,000-20,000 ($14,600-29,000).

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

A Call for Classes for Great Northeastern War

East Kingdom Gazette - Sat, 2016-05-28 22:17

On behalf of Mistress Astryda Borowska, GNEW Class Coordinator:

Do you have a passion, knowledge you’d love to share, a skill you’d love to see spread far and wide? Come teach at the 30th GNEW — and maybe even win a war point for Malagentia or Tir Mara. Teacher forms are available at the GNEW website. The deadline is June 30. As this year’s university coordinator, I look forward to seeing what the East has to offer!

Filed under: Announcements, Arts and Sciences, Events

The Father of Quality Lager reborn

History Blog - Sat, 2016-05-28 17:31

Humans have been brewing beer since at least 6000 B.C. in Mesopotamia — a study was just published a few days ago revealing a 5,000-year-old recipe for beer derived from residue inside pottery found in China’s Shaanxi province — but for thousands of years the chemical processes of fermentation were mysterious. Ingredients varied widely, and even when stripped to the bare bones, as with Bavaria’s 1516 beer purity law, the Reinheitsgebot, which stipulated that beer could only be made from water, hops and malted barley, things could still go horribly wrong. Some barrels from the same brew could go bad. This bad beer or “beer sickness” made the beverage undrinkable, or drinkable only at a great cost in intestinal discomfort.

It was only in the late 19th century that a cure was found for beer sickness. Mycologist Dr. Emil Christian Hansen, who in addition to being a veritable paragon of human determination is pretty much directly responsible for every healthy sip of lager you’ve ever had. Hansen was born in Ribe, Denmark, in 1842, the son of a hardworking laundress and an alcoholic Foreign Legion vet who lived on the streets a homeless drifter. To help support the family, from an early age Hansen took on all kinds of jobs, from acting to house painting. When he got a steady job as a tutor, he was finally able to support his formal schooling. He graduated high school at the age of 29 and matriculated at the University of Copenhagen where he studied zoology with a particular interest in fungi.

(Random historical connection interlude: when he was a student at the University of Copenhagen, Hansen was the assistant of Professor of Zoology Japetus Steenstrup. Steenstrup, also head of the university-affiliated Royal Natural History Museum, in 1850 loaned Charles Darwin some modern and fossil barnacle specimens from his personal collection to aid Darwin in his research for On the Origin of Species. Four years later Darwin expressed his gratitude by gifting Steenstrup with 77 barnacle fossils, 55 of which were discovered in storage and put on display at the Natural History Museum in 2014. In 1876, Hasen would co-author the first Danish language translation of Darwin’s The Voyage of the Beagle.)

In 1877, Emil Hansen got a job at Copenhagen’s Carlsberg Brewery reserching “organisms in beer.” The Carlsberg Laboratory had opened in 1875, the brainchild of brewery founder Jacob Christian Jacobsen, its mission advancing knowledge of biochemistry and brewery science. Just two years later, Hansen was head of the laboratory. In 1883, he made a momentous breakthrough while studying yeast. He realized bad beer wasn’t caused solely by bacterial contamination, as Louis Pasteur had proposed, but also by contamination from wild yeast strains. He isolated a single cell of favorable yeast and grew it into a pure yeast culture he called “Unterhefe Nr. I” (bottom-fermenting yeast no. 1) which when used as the sole yeast source in the fermentation process ensured that the microorganisms which caused beer sickness would not develop in the lager.

Carlsberg yeast no. 1 went into production in November 1883. Jacobsen was a philanthropic, progressive-minded man who was deeply committed not just to enlisting science to produce excellent beer, but to supporting scientific endeavors for the betterment of mankind in general. Jacobsen could have easily patented the “clean yeast” isolated in his laboratory, but instead he spread the purified yeast culture far and wide, reaching out to competitors and offering them living yeast specimens free of charge. Thus Carlsberg ended lager’s beer sickness problem and lager began its reign as the most popular beer in the world, today comprising 90% of all beer sold. Most of the lager produced today uses the same strain isolated by Hansen and distributed by Jacobsen.

Three years ago during construction outside the Carlsberg Laboratory in Copenhagen, three bottles of beer, still corked and in remarkably good condition, late 19th century labels and all, were discovered in a forgotten cellar. Researchers at the lab uncorked one and sipped the contents. It was still good, apparently, although it no longer tasted like lager so much as a sherry or port. Carlsberg Laboratory scientists then took samples from the bottle in an attempt to isolate the original live brewing yeast that revolutionized lager production worldwide. Nobody thought they’d be successful, but against all predictions, after a year of research they succeeded, thanks to the thick layer of precipitate at the bottom of the bottle which was characteristic of late 19th century lager.

With a living culture of the original Unterhefe Nr. I, Carlsberg’s brewers set to the challenging task of recreating the first consistent quality lager. While the brewery has exceptional archives and even a museum, there is no exact recipe for the 1883 lager. All they had to go on in the records was the ratio of water, malt and hops, because the brewers back then didn’t write down the detailed recipe. At the time the brewery really only made one type of beer, and brewers worked on multiple batches a day. They knew the recipe backwards and forwards, so they didn’t bother to document it in writing.

The ratio was a solid starting point, though, and they did know a great deal about the sources of ingredients and the equipment used. They acquired floor-malted barley malt (floor malting was the system used in 1883). They secured well water drawn through the chalk layer that underlays Copenhagen, just as the water from the 68-foot feep well that supplied the Carlsberg brewery in 1883 was. They used “Gammel Dansk” barley, one of the first domestic barleys J.C. Jacobsen considered of high enough quality to use instead of importing Scottish and British varieties. Like the 1883 brew, the rebrew was not filtered or pasteurized, nor was gelatin added to clear the brew of hazy sediment.

Because perfectionism is the name of the game, the brewers called in glassblower Peer Nielsen from the Holmegaard glassworks, the oldest in Denmark founded in 1825. Holmegaard has been making Carlsberg bottles since the 1850s. Nielsen consulted with Carlsberg museum staff and glass collectors to determine what kind of bottle would have been used in 1883. He found that machine moulded glass bottles were only produced starting in the 1890s, so he used a wooden mould and to mouth-blow the green glass bottles just as his vocational ancestors had done.

On May 18th, the press, craft beer producers, connoisseurs and critics were invited the first tasting of the rebrew, named the Father of Quality Lager.

“I’m relieved,” Bjarke Bundgaard, a beer history expert for Carlsberg, told Live Science after the cask was tapped. “We were very afraid of unwanted microorganisms visiting in the barrel. But basically the beer fulfills what I would expect: rich, malty, higher levels of residual sugars. I think it’s quite authentic, so I’m satisfied.”

The lager was darker in color, sweeter and less fizzy than the familiar green-bottled Carlsberg pilsner of today, and it had 5.7 percent alcohol content (just short of their goal of 5.8 percent). Bundgaard said the historic lager was not as flavorful as the craft beers of today because “this was an everyday-life beer —it was something that people were drinking for lunch or even for their breakfast.”

Only around 30 bottles of the rebrew were made and there are no plans for retail production, but Carlsberg will be holding beer tasting events around the world. Enter your name and email here to be notified should there be one in your neck of the woods.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

More on Northshield’s First Same-Sex Heirs

East Kingdom Gazette - Fri, 2016-05-27 12:53

The Æthelmearc Gazette posted an article earlier this week with more information on Northshield’s new heirs and how they will be approaching their reign.  The article can be found here.

Filed under: Tidings Tagged: Northshield

Neanderthals built stalagmite circles 175,000 years ago

History Blog - Fri, 2016-05-27 03:23

The entrance to the Bruniquel Cave in southwest France collapsed in prehistoric times, sealing off the cave from the Pleistocene until determined local speleologists dug their way through in 1990. Inside the cave just 336 meters (1102 feet) from the entrance, they found two circular structures made of whole and broken stalagmites. Archaeologists carefully documented the site, but were unable to date it. Accelerator mass spectrometry radiocarbon dating on a burnt animal bone found nearby returned a date of older than 47,600 years ago, which pushes the outer limit of C-14 dating’s 50,000-year range. The date dangled the intriguing possibility that the stalagmite circles had been built by Neanderthals, the only people in Europe from 400,000 to 40,000 years ago when anatomically modern humans moved in and rapidly took over.

Archaeological exploration of the site ended abruptly when the lead archaeologist F. Rouzaud died prematurely in 1999, and the difficult access to the cave kept other archaeologists from picking up where he left off. In 2013, Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences palaeoclimatologist Sophie Verheyden, a speleologist who has a vacation home in the area, put together a team of experts to examine the annular stalagmites structures.

Verheyden’s team found two circular structures, the larger one 6.7 × 4.5 meters (22 x 15 feet), the smaller one 2.2 × 2.1 meters (7.2 x 6.9 feet). In the center of the larger circle are two stacks of stalagmites with two more accumulation structures outside of it. In total, about 400 stalagmite pieces were used in these structures, less than 5% of them whole. Half of them are from the middle section of the stalagmites. The ones used in the large circle have a mean length of 34.4 centimeters (13.5 inches); the ones in the smaller circle have a mean length of 29.5 cm (11.6 inches).

The annular geometry is too regular to be the product of random natural breakage, and relatively regular sizes of the stalagmites, larger in the larger circle and smaller in the smaller circle, are further evidence that this is deliberate construction. The possibility that they might have been cave bear nests is eliminated by the size and inner organization of the structures. Archaeologists also found prints left where some of the stalagmites were wrenched off the cave floor and traces of fire on all six structures, 57 reddened pieces and 66 blackened ones.

Uranium-series dating of stalagmite samples and the calcite regrowth covering the structures returned dates of 175,200 to 177,100 thousand years. The dates of all the samples fell into this range. The stalagmite structures are therefore among the oldest firmly dated human constructions, and Neanderthals were the only humans in Europe at that time.

The earliest surviving evidence of constructions by anatomically modern humans — collapsed circular structures made from mammoth bones or dear antlers — date to around 20,000 years ago. Indications of earlier Neanderthal building are limited to a few postholes and remnants of dry stone walls, but they cannot be conclusively attributed to Neanderthals or conclusively dated. The great archaeological gifts of the Bruniquel Cave, therefore, are the complexity and survival of the stalagmite circles and the repeatable, reliable direct dating.

This momentous find redefines our understanding of Neanderthal culture and abilities. From the research published in Nature, which you can read in its entirety here (pdf):

The attribution of the Bruniquel constructions to early Neanderthals is unprecedented in two ways. First, it reveals the appropriation of a deep karst space (including lighting) by a pre-modern human species. Second, it concerns elaborate constructions that have never been reported before, made with hundreds of partially calibrated, broken stalagmites (speleofacts) that appear to have been deliberately moved and placed in their current locations, along with the presence of several intentionally heated zones. Our results therefore suggest that the Neanderthal group responsible for these constructions had a level of social organization that was more complex than previously thought for this hominid species.

There’s a compilation of photographs and 3D animated flyover of the site in the video on this page. Alas, I cannot embed it because of cursed autoplay, but it’s well worth viewing.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Altar cloth may be sole surviving Elizabeth I gown

History Blog - Thu, 2016-05-26 01:03

Speaking of Queen Elizabeth I, Historic Royal Palaces (HRP) curators think an altar cloth from St Faith’s Church in Bacton, Herefordshire, may be the only known surviving piece of one of the monarch’s famously elaborate gowns. There is no conclusive proof that the cross-shaped piece of fabric once belonged to the queen herself, but there’s very solid circumstantial evidence.

The altar cloth has belonged to the small rural church for centuries. The richly embroidered cloth, long rumored to have a connection to the Virgin Queen, stopped being used as altar cloth and was placed in a glass display case in 1909. The church received it from Blanche Perry, daughter of a Welsh nobleman who was born in Bacton and became one of the queen’s most loyal and longest serving ladies. Brought to court by her aunt Lady Troy who Henry VIII appointed Lady Mistress to his children Prince Edward and Princess Elizabeth, Blanche was Elizabeth’s attendant for 57 years, ultimately rising to the exalted rank of Chief Gentlewoman of Queen Elizabeth’s most honourable Privy Chamber and Keeper of Her Majesty’s jewels, a role she held from 1565 until her death in 1590.

An epitaph she wrote for her funerary monument at St Faith’s describes her lifelong dedication to the Princess and later Queen Elizabeth, “whose cradle saw I rocked, her servant then as when she her crown achieved and remained til death my door had knocked…. A maid in court and never no man’s wife, sworn of Queen Elizabeth’s head chamber always with the Maiden Queen a maid did end my life.” She commissioned the monument at the time of her planned retirement (1576-1577), but she never did retire. She was Chief Gentlewoman until the end, after which the Queen had her buried with much pomp in St. Margaret’s, Westminster. Only her heart made it back to St Faith’s, her heart and a beautiful piece of fabric.

Experts from the Historic Royal Palaces asked to examine the textile last year. They identified it as an Elizabethan skirt panel from the late 16th century, and not just any skirt panel, but one of royal quality. It is cream silk woven through with silver thread with embroidery in colored silks, gold thread and silver thread. It was embroidered with florals — columbines, daffodils, roses, honeysuckle, oak leaves, acorns, mistletoe — and animals — birds, dragonflies, butterflies, caterpillars, frogs, fish, dogs, stags, squirrels. There are also miniature boats being rowed by tiny humans. This was professional embroidery of the highest standard.

The sumptuary laws explicitly reserved such rich garments for members of the immediate royal family. A single gown could cost the equivalent of labourer’s yearly income. Curators believe it was a gift from the Queen to Blanche Parry, a rare, valued gift that was a token of the Queen’s high esteem, love and friendship. Queen Elizabeth didn’t give away her dresses very often, and no garments from her royal wardrobe have survived, only accessories. This section is the only piece of fabric known that is likely to have come from a gown of Elizabeth’s. It survived because it was treated with reverence, very quickly converted into an altar piece and treated with utmost care for the next four centuries.

The HRP curators have removed it from its frame and frozen it to kill any critters that might have been gnawing on its delicate fibers. Conservators will now analyze it and recommend a course of action that will preserve it in the long term. After it is conserved in the laboratories of Hampton Court, HRP hopes it will go on public display. St Faith’s is still the undisputed owner, however, so they’ll have to determine where it will be exhibited in the long-term. One possibility is that a replica will be made for the church, while the original is kept in the security and ideal conservation conditions of the Historic Royal Palaces.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Save the Date: Siege of Glengary

AEthelmearc Gazette - Wed, 2016-05-25 17:29

Please note the change of dates for this event from September 23-25 to it’s new weekend of September 2-4. Sylvan Glen looks forward to welcoming you all to their industrious shire. You can find the updated event announcement below.



21st Annual Siege of Glengary
Hosted by the Shire of Sylvan Glen
September 2-4, 2016

Unto to the populace of the Sylvan Kingdom does the Shire of Sylvan Glen send greetings! We invite all from near and far to “Go Berserk in the Glen” at the 21st Annual Siege of Glengary. Join us for a Viking invasion.

Go Berserk in the Glen Siege will be held Friday September 2 – Sunday September 4 at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds – 1707 Old Leetown Pike Kearneysville, WV 25430.

The site opens Friday September 2nd at 5:00pm and closes at 12:00pm on Sunday September 4th. Those remaining on site will be conscripted for clean up.

Registration for the event are as follows:
Adult Event Registration – $22
Adult Member Discount Event Registration – $17
Child (age 7-17) Registration – $5
Family Cap Event Registration – $54
Family Cap Member Discount Registration – $44

Those who preregister early (Postmarked on or before 8/15/2016) will receive a discounted rate as follows:

Adult Event Preregistration $20
Adult Member Discount Event Preregistration $15
Child Event Preregistration $4
Family Cap Event Preregistration $48
Family Cap Member Discount Preregistration $38

Included in your registration: Camping, Travelers’ Repast (Friday evening), breakfast (Saturday morning), and a delicious dayboard (Saturday) prepared by Baroness Oddkatla Jonsdottir.

A hearty Viking feast will be prepared by Lady Arianna del Vallone at $12 per person. Preregistration is encouraged as only a small number of seats will be available at troll. A separate child’s feast will be prepared as well by Lady Reina Dulce Dame (Jessica Knill-Lopez knilljlo@gmail.com) for $5 per child (ages 12 and below).

Preregistration is encouraged and can be sent to the the event autocrat, Lady Laurentia Caledonia. Only those preregistrations postmarked on or before 8/15/2016 will be eligible for the discount. Please include the following when sending preregistration for all parties registering: Mundane Name, SCA Name, Age, and Membership Number (if applicable). Those preregistering will need to show proof of membership at troll. Please make checks payable to SCA WV Inc. – Shire of Sylvan Glen and mail to
Brandy Cannon
533 Monticello St. Winchester, VA 22601
(540)323-2208 – no calls after 10pm
Please call or email with questions. We hope to see you there!

Categories: SCA news sites

Calling all Pennsic Youth

East Kingdom Gazette - Wed, 2016-05-25 16:30

Hear, Ye! Hear, Ye! Join Baron Tree of the Forest, Pennsic Mayor 46 in his search for cover art for the Pennsic 46 Booklet.
All youth who will be under 18 for Pennsic 46 are invited to submit one work of 2D art to Youth Point between Wednesday of Peace Week – August 3, and Wednesday of War Week – August 10.
These entries will be judged by some very important people. The plan is to announce the winner before the close of Pennsic.
Submission forms will be available at Youth Point.

Filed under: Announcements, Pennsic Tagged: a&s, Youth

Help save the Drake Armada Portrait of Elizabeth I

History Blog - Wed, 2016-05-25 03:02

The Art Fund and Royal Museums Greenwich have launched a campaign to buy the iconic Armada Portrait of Queen Elizabeth I before it’s put up for public auction. The Art Fund has contributed £1 million ($1,461,000) and Royal Museums Greenwich £400,000 ($584,000), its entire annual acquisitions budget, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. They need to raise another £8.6 million ($12,564,000) to secure the portrait for its asking price of £10 million or else it will be sold to the highest bidder.

The oil-on-panel portrait was painted in around 1590 to commemorate the scrappy English navy’s defeat of the mighty Spanish Armada in 1588 and has become an iconic representation of Queen Elizabeth. It has appeared in textbooks and inspired countless film and television portrayals of the Virgin Queen. Some scholars consider it the definitive representation of the English Renaissance.

Queen Elizabeth stands with her elegant right hand covering North America — Spain of course claimed much of South America — on a globe. Next to her shoulder is a crown representing her rule of a new global empire, and her dress, hair and jewelry are festooned with pearls, symbols of virginity and the sea. The fabric of her gown is embroidered with suns, symbols of power and enlightenment. Behind her are two scenes from the defeat of the Spanish Armada: on the left English ships in the foreground sail towards the larger Spanish fleet, on the ship Spanish ships are buffeted onto the rocky coast of Ireland or Scotland by what was termed the “Protestant Wind,” the breath of God Himself weighing in on the side of England and Protestantism.

The portrait was unusual in its time for the horizontal orientation, and was immediately popular enough to inspire multiple versions. This is one of three versions of the portrait to survive. One of them is in the National Portrait Gallery. It was trimmed on both sides to make it a vertical portrait and the English and Spanish ships in the background, the very parts of the paintings that give it its meaning, were overpainted in black. Conservators discovered the overpainting and removed it in the 1970s. The other version is at Woburn Abbey and is thankfully still intact.

The artist is unknown. Previously the National Portrait Gallery and Woburn Abbey versions were attributed to the Queen’s Serjeant Painter George Gower, but the NPG now believes all three portraits were painted by different hands and have changed the attribution of their version to an unknown artist of the British school.

The only version of the portrait still in private hands was once owned by, and likely was commissioned by, Sir Francis Drake which it makes it the most important of the three because of its close association with one of the heroes of the events depicted. It has been in his family ever since. It currently resides at Shardeloes in Buckinghamshire, the estate of the Tyrwhitt-Drake family. They’re ready to sell, and if the campaign is successful, the portrait will belong to a public institution for the first time in 425 years.

Royal Museums Greenwich would be the perfect home for this iconic painting, with its fine 16th- and 17th-century collections, maritime setting and world-renowned conservation expertise. If our campaign is successful, the portrait will hang at the newly renovated Queen’s House, on the site of the original Greenwich Palace, where Elizabeth I was born. Plans are underway for a national programme to secure the widest possible audience. The painting is in a fragile condition and bringing it into public ownership now will secure its long-term future, conservation and display.

It’s in dire need of that conservation expertise. Its background scenes of the victory over the Armada were also overpainted at one point, and the whole work is yellowed with missing flecks of paint. Half a millennium in drafty stately homes hasn’t done it any favors either. The Royal Museums Greenwich have the facilities to ensure a proper climate controlled environment that is ideal for conservation of the oil paint and oak panels.

All donations will be matched pound for pound, so whatever you can contribute is actually worth double. Click here to donate.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Mug at Auschwitz hid jewelry for 70+ years

History Blog - Tue, 2016-05-24 08:14

Staff at the Auschwitz Museum have discovered one person’s cherished treasures hidden under the false bottom of a mug for more than 70 years. The mug is one of more than 12,000 pieces of enameled kitchenware — pots, bowls, kettles, cups — in the museum’s collection, the quotidian things people brought with them when being deported in the desperate hope that they would have some kind of normalcy. Nazi officials encouraged this belief.

“The Germans incessantly lied to the Jews deported for extermination. They were told about resettlement, work and life in a different location. They allowed the victims take with them little luggage. In this way, the Germans were confident that in the luggage – including clothes and items needed for life – they would find the last valuables of the deported families,” said the Director of the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum Dr. Piotr M. A. Cywiński.

“The hiding of valuable items – repeatedly mentioned in the accounts of survivors, and which was the reason for ripping and careful search of clothes and suitcases in the warehouse for looted items – so-called ‘Kanada’ – proves on the one hand to the awareness of the victims as to the robbery nature of the deportation, but on the other hand it shows that the Jewish families constantly had a ray of hope that these items will be required for their existence” stressed director Cywiński.

The owner of the mug defeated this vile scheme by creating a false bottom and hiding precious valuables in the space: a woman’s gold ring with gemstones and a gold chain necklace, coiled and wrapped in canvas. Both pieces bear the mark of a head of a knight with the number three on his right side, a symbol in common use in Poland between 1921 an 1931 for 583 gold, which means the gold content is 583 parts per thousand, or just a hair under 14 karats. While the ring is missing its central gemstone and some of the smaller ones, several of them remain snug in their settings.

The hidden treasure was discovered during routine maintenance work on the enameled kitchenware in the exhibition. Curators noticed that what had once seemed like the bottom of the mug was in fact pulling up, revealing a secret compartment. It kept its cache secure for more than 70 years before the metal gradually degraded, lifting the false bottom and separating it from the mug. Museum staff X-rayed the mug to see what the false bottom was hiding. X-ray fluorescence then confirmed the presence of copper, gold and silver. Only then did conservators carefully remove the bottom to examine the precious contents.

Through the rust you can make out a brand name and colors on the false bottom. The edges are rough, which is at least in part due to corrosion, but I think the mug’s owners cut out a circle from a discarded tin of some kind and then somehow fitted it into the mug so adeptly that it fooled the Nazis, the crews of people they had tearing apart people’s belongings looking for valuables and from 1947 to 2016, the staff of the Auschwitz Museum.

As with so many thousands of objects recovered from Auschwitz, there are no identifying marks that might help historians give credit to the ingenious person or people who so effectively hid these jewels from the Nazis and everyone else for seven decades. The mug and jewelry will kept in the museum in a manner that reflects how they were used so cleverly by desperate but hopeful people, mute but eloquent witnesses to the experience of Jews deported to the extermination camp.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History

Still Four Spots Left for the Visconti Workshop!

AEthelmearc Gazette - Mon, 2016-05-23 08:12

Hey, I heard a rumor that Mistress Teircelin bakes scrolls in the oven, that’s right scrolls, not rolls. I wonder if that is what makes her work so amazing?

Join us on June 5, Sunday at her place in Hamberg NY and discover for yourself. There is space and materials for 20 scribes/ 8 teachers and support teaching staff to attend for a very special day of learning and community for Æthelmearc scribes. You must register to attend, how? Send an email to – MistressAntoinettedelaCroix@Gmail.com.

There are 4 spots left, preregister soon!

Who: You! Scribe! and 19 other scribes. Space will accommodate 20 scribal students.

What: Visconti Book of Hours Workshop

• Gilding with Mistress Tiercelin
• Blackletter Caligraphy with THL Sophie of Davenport- you’ve seen her in Court heralding, wait until you see her making merry with her pen and ink.
• Intensive brushwork/whitework with Mistress Antoinette who will show you the myriad of other ways you can use this brushwork technique to take your next scroll to another level.
• Visconti painting methods, layering, shading with Mistress Roberta
• Support teaching staff to be on hand that day: Master Morien, Mistress Cori, Mistress Sttiurrim, Mistress Liadhain.

When: Sunday, June 5, 10:30 a.m. – 6:00 pm.

Where: Mistress Tiercelin’s home in the Rhydderich Hael, Hamburg, NY

Why:  Scribing is more FUN together, come and share the day with 27 other scribes

Cost: $10.00 for materials- blank scroll (all different/no repeats) on pergamenata, gold leaf, correct nib to caligraph, paint/palette, handouts. No garb, plenty of parking, bring a brown bag lunch (we’ll have drinks here).

Come prepared to learn and paint your tuchas off!
Pre register with Antoinette at  MistressAntoinettedelaCroix@Gmail.com

Categories: SCA news sites

Thousands of historic cosmetic, hygiene products digitized

History Blog - Mon, 2016-05-23 03:29

Included in the National Museum of American History’s enormous collection of 90,000 artifacts in the Division of Medicine and Science are more than 2,200 historic cosmetic, hygiene and personal care products. Most of them have never been on display and outside of museum curators, people don’t even know they’re there. Thanks to a grant from Kiehl’s, a skincare company founded in 1851 which has over the years donated more than 100 items from its own past to the Smithsonian, the collection has now been digitized.

The National Museum of American History, with the support of Kiehl’s, plans to extend the collection to the Web through the Cosmetics and Personal Care Collections Digitization Project. A museum specialist will identify, photograph and provide descriptive information for the cosmetic and personal care objects collection on the Web. The project will allow the museum’s collection of cosmetics and personal care products to be accessed online for education and research around the world.

The objects date from the 19th century to the present and include everything from skin creams to soaps, perfumes, razors and tooth powders. The range of products and dates provides a fascinating view of how drastically beauty standards and personal care regimens have changed over the years. Browsing the collection you can tread the dangerously fine line between medicine and makeup, poison and perfume. The inextricable link between medicine and cosmetics was acknowledged by Congress in 1938 when it passed the Food, Drug, and Cosmetics Act giving the Food and Drug Administration some degree of regulatory oversight over the cosmetic industry.

The grant comes none to soon as soaps and the paper box they came in were not made to last. These were disposable items and there isn’t a lot conservators can do to keep them from crumbling to dust. Then there are the inevitable chemical reactions, like between toothpaste and its old tubes.

If you’re researching something of have a particular interest in one type of product, you can search the collection by keyword. I got a kick out of searching for poisons like arsenic and lead, which have been mainstays of skin care products since antiquity. I also had fun picking more general old-timey keywords like “tonic” and browsing all the quackery and impossible claims that ensued. If you’d just like to have a look around, click on one of the categories listed in the column to the right of the page. I enjoyed clicking on each category and then scrolling down to the filter options, clicking the date, and exploring the whole category from oldest to newest.

Did you know that after World War I, they made menstrual pads out of sphagnum moss? Apparently they were first invented during the war for use in surgical dressings and later found new life as a consumer product. That brings me back to the wonderful barrels of 14th century poop found in Odense, Denmark, in which clumps of moss were found because they were used as toilet paper. Damn good toilet paper at that.

The collection is full of cool random finds like this. The digitization project will continue to keep up with new acquisitions.

Categories: Arts and Sciences, History